Senator Manny Villar called on the trade, energy and labor departments in a press release to come up with a comprehensive study and concrete proposals on how an escalation of hostilities between protesters and government forces in Bahrain and Libya could impact on the national economy and the welfare of overseas Filipino workers.
“Compared to an estimated 6,000 Filipinos in Egypt, we have around 40,000 workers in Bahrain and more than 10,000 workers in Libya. Let us make sure that our embassies in these two countries are fully-supported with contingency funds and manpower to assist our workers to safety when the situation calls for it,” Villar said.
Villar also stressed the need for a thorough study on the implications of the spread of hostilities across more Middle East countries on world oil prices and the national economy.
He pointed out that around three million Filipinos are situated in the Middle East and North Africa, the press release said.
“As tensions continue to engulf the Middle East, we must be vigilant and prepared to deal with its impact on tens of thousands of Filipino workers in the region as well as on the incomes of their families here at home,” Villar said.
He also noted that world oil prices continue to be affected by outbreaks of violence in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia and Bahrain.
“Soaring oil prices could lead to further erosion of incomes and savings here at home. This is why government needs to be completely thorough in studying the effects of a prolonged crisis in the Middle East on world oil prices and overseas remittances,” Villar said in the press release.*